At age seven, I watched “War & Peace” on TV with my father. I can’t remember why, but all of a sudden I was convinced I would die that night. I tried to imagine what it would be like. I even held my breath as long as I could to simulate death.
It was around this age that I also became convinced that I would die by the time the days of the calendar flipped back down to the first column of months toward February of the new year. We had a calendar every year that listed the months in two columns back then in the ’70s: September through February, March through August.”
You Baby Boomers know what I’m talking about.
I guess between the “Twilight Zone” marathon going on right now, the episode featuring Robert Redford as Death, and another new year as I’m way past the age of innocence combined for the perfect storm last night.
Oh, I stayed up many nights before contemplating the inevitability of my own death. But I was young enough to set such thoughts aside.
I’m not so young now. Now, it’s quite realistic to expect death to come at any minute.
Like most people, I can only dwell on my own mortality for short bursts at a time before I am possessed with an overwhelming compulsion to drive to the nearest airport, book a one-way ticket out of here, and travel to parts unknown. Or pizza. Lots of pizza.
Death has a way of forcing you to really look around, look at the people around you. Then, depending on your level of maturity, taking into consideration any advancement of senility, the existence of adult onset ADD, and the availability of your busy schedule, death is back on the shelf, and you’re back on rote, doing taxes, sweeping the front entry, rearranging your shoes, getting ready for another week.
I have nothing profound to say about my own death. Only that I don’t want to die. I want to rewind the clock back to when I was young, stupid, arrogant, and naive, and start over again, do everything differently, with more purpose, take care of myself balanced with an unhealthy dose of nihilism, travel the world before I hunkered down for college and those dead-end jobs, told off that bitch in Public Affairs after she threatened that I would never work again, fucked that boy in high school instead of forcing him to make up the whole story so that everyone thought I was the town whore, eaten more at Bella Italia and Pizza King, hung out more with Terri…
Every so often, I will stop whatever I’m doing and go, “What the fuck am I doing? What the fuck have I done? Have I done enough?”
I honestly don’t know.
If I could go out like Bunny Blake in the “Twilight Zone’s” “Ring-a-Ding Girl” episode, then, I think I would be okay about dying.
Here’s to another year to figure it all out — if I’m given that long.